I’ve Given Up on Understanding Democracy

I really didn’t want to think about politics today. I have a pile of chocolates right next to me, I’m taking notes on what I need to do to find out what I want to do for the next half-decade or so, and I have plans to continue watching The Crown (I love that show).

But basically everyone I know has politics in the brain today. Part of it has to do with the decision of my country’s Supreme Court to allow a dictator to be buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery. The other part has to do with the US elections. Both have me questioning whether or not I misunderstood what Democracy is actually supposed to be.

The handful of people who AREN’T talking about these things are focused on bettering themselves. I want to pay attention to them instead, but my brain is a douchebag.

So now I’m writing this, around lunchtime, so I can forget about it and get back to my career development exercises.

From the Philippines, my bend of the globe

The subject of burying a known dictator as a hero is, at the very least, controversial.

Whether or not he was a benevolent dictator is always up for debate—it most certainly is at our family’s dinner table, where the positions range from neutral to moderately rabid. But I don’t think that’s what’s causing the problems here at all.

My issue with this whole thing is that they claim the proposal to bury this man as a hero is an attempt to unify our country.

Let that sink in. They think that a dictator, whose executive, legislative, and judiciary decisions led to the deaths and disappearances of a countless number of my countrymen, should be buried as a hero in order for everyone to bury the hatchet.

I have no words to describe how misguided and fucked up I think this thing is.

I don’t care what his intentions were. I don’t care if the dead and missing “deserved” what happened to them. That’s not the point.

The point is that his government allowed for atrocities upon his people. And no, a ceremony will NOT make things right, not for the people who had to suffer under him who, by the way, are still alive.

Christ, why think this would unite us? You just reminded people of how much they’ve been hurt and now we’re more divided than ever.

And I heard the guy didn’t even want to be buried there anyway; he wanted to be next to his mom. You assholes.

Meanwhile, America – fuck yeah

Whether or not my country is getting along with the US of A (and I could never tell; our President likes insulting them while most Filipinos freaking love America), we gotta concede that we have to care about it.

Despite the claims that its hold on international power has weakened over the last decade or so, it’s pretty dang obvious that it still holds significant international influence. Whoever leads it will definitely set the tone for how the country will interact with the rest of the world.

As I write this post, with only a Reese’s peanut butter cup in my mouth as comfort, the 20-year-old Cheeto that you found in the deep recesses of your living room couch that we all know as Donald Trump has a very real chance of winning.

I’d be drinking right now, but it’s office hours where I’m from.

Look, America. I get it. We elected people because their rhetoric was pretty damn compelling and we wanted to send a “fuck you” message to the administration.

But that came at the cost of compromising the integrity of bridges we had built in the past.

Hopefully, by the time this goes live, Hillary will have won or something. Because mark my words: if you let an opportunistic, xenophobic tax evader take over, then any respect the rest of the world has for you will be significantly diminished.

Do not let low EQ get the better of you right now. Do not let fear and anger win.

Remember hope. And then act on it.

For the People, of the People, by the People

When I was in High School, one of our class activities was a formal debate on whether or not my country should be a Democracy.

I was on the “no” side and, if I remember correctly, we won because we successfully argued that Filipinos do not have the right mindset for it. Too many politicians forget that they’re supposed to serve the people. Too many citizens forget that our responsibilities do not stop with the ballots. We all forget that nation-building is not in the hands of the few, but in the hands of everyone, together.

This is how I thought Democracy is supposed to go: we choose someone to speak for us, to be our voice, so we may better contribute to the improvement of society. If the elected officials fail to represent us, then they will lose all their power. If we allow concerns that do not contribute to society dominate, then Democracy will have failed.

If we treat elections as a “set it and forget it” kind of thing, then we don’t actually have a Democracy at all.

But of course, the Democracies I’ve been seeing thus far don’t seem to work the way I thought they ought. Maybe I didn’t understand it after all. Maybe it really is about choosing representatives on the basis of whatever and then letting them fuck us over.

It really doesn’t matter. I’ve given up on understanding democracy.

What about you?

 

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